May 11, 2009

Go ahead, write a blog post about my junk

It’s been almost nine months since Boy in Black said to me, “I need to go to the doctor's.”

He’d been playing Ultimate Frisbee all summer, and he was the kind of player you’d notice on the field – running, leaping, moving directions quickly. He’s also the type to play through pain, so when he started sitting out, or at least handling instead of cutting, I knew he had to be really hurting.

His injury was diagnosed as a pulled groin – something that would simply get better with time. So he stopped playing, hoping that rest would heal him.

But it didn’t. And for nine months, Boy in Black has gone back for repeated doctor visits. He didn’t snowboard last winter, or run, or play Ultimate. He’s been to several rounds of physical therapy, although he’s had to fight the insurance company every time. He’s had an MRI. He’s had X-rays. At one point, he took antibiotics, with the theory that an infection had developed. Nothing has helped. He ended up sitting out of Ultimate – a sport he loves – for his whole junior year of college. He still went to every practice, but he simply couldn’t play.

Most recently, an orthopedic doctor diagnosed the injury as osteitis pubis, an inflamed pubic bone and sent him for a bone scan that involved him taking radioactive isotopes. We were relieved to at least have some kind of diagnosis.

But the bone scan came back negative. That means no one is really sure what’s wrong with him. The theory now is that there is still some kind of strained abdominal muscle -- or perhaps a sports hernia. He and the doctor are fighting the insurance company to get him more physical therapy.

He knows that he still has a very privileged life – he can walk, even if he can’t run or jump or snowboard. He’s been in pain, but many people live with things far worse. He’s got a brilliant mind, a close family, great friends, and all kinds of advantages that most people don’t.

But still. Boy in Black is an intense young man, and he has devoted himself to the sport of Ultimate. His passion is so contagious that all his siblings and our extras now play Ultimate, and even his parents will join in for pick-up games. His life still revolves around Ultimate – he drives his brothers to Spring League and coaches from the sidelines. When he stays up late at night, he watches youtube clips of Ultimate games. When he hangs out in the living room talking, he throws a disc back and forth constantly.

All we’ve talked about for the last nine months is Boy in Black’s groin. Seriously, he’ll walk in the door, and I’ll say, “How’s your groin today?” It’s amazing how quickly that conversation felt normal. All of us in the household want desperately for him to recover. Because despite how much he jokes around – and believe me, I’ve heard every groin joke possible – it’s obvious to anyone who looks at Boy in Black’s face that he is feeling just miserable. He’s not a little boy any more, he’s a mature adult, but even so, watching him be so down all year has been very tough to watch. It’s frustrating that we don’t know when or how this saga will end.

20 comments:

susan said...

It's so hard to live with the combination of pain and uncertain diagnoses--I'm so sorry. If the wishes of the internets were any use, Boy in Black would have healed long ago. Hugs all around.

kathy a. said...

more hugs. i think it is REALLY healthy, that everyone can talk about this pain.

and really awful, that nobody knows where it comes from, or how to make it better -- and most of all, that it is keeping BiB from doing what he loves so much.

joanna said...

It must be hard to watch your child go through this. Hugs.

niobe said...

This must be so hard on all of you. Thinking of you and BiB.

Bad Alice said...

I'm so sorry. I know how frustrating it is to get no answers--went through that with my husband. I still thank God and the Internet that I finally got a lead that resulted in a diagnosis.

It sounds like his pain is perhaps located a bit differently, but I'll throw this out there on the off chance it might help. There's something called pelvic floor dysfunction. My husband has it as a byproduct of Interstitial Cystitis, but people get it for all sorts of unknown reasons. My husband does sometimes have severe groin pain, and even pain in his lower back and abdomen as a result.

I do hope you find a helpful treatment. It is so difficult watching someone you love suffer.

liz said...

Sending healing thoughts to BiB. I hope that you get answers soon and that recovery comes soon after.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Hugs to you and BiB.

Rana said...

(o)

Songbird said...

So sorry about this, hope there will be a new lead soon and resolution and healing.

AmpersandToo said...

thinking of BiB not able to do what he loves and be all of who he is just grieves me. i hope and pray for some answers and healing.

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/27/AR2009042702605.html

Surgeons Move From Knees to Hips
By Sarah Halzack
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"..."Most people, especially athletes, when they had hip symptoms, usually they just got diagnosed as a chronic groin pull," said J.W. Thomas Byrd, a Nashville orthopedist who specializes in sports medicine and hip injuries. Rest and physical therapy might be prescribed, but no other solutions were available. Byrd also noted that because it's difficult to get standard surgical instruments into the hip safely, it has been "a bit more of a challenging joint to tackle" than the knee or shoulder.

But that's changing. In the past 10 to 15 years, doctors have discovered one specific cause of hip pain: a tear in the acetabular labrum, a condition in which the cartilage that lines the hip socket is damaged. And they've found that it can be fixed using arthroscopic surgery, which uses narrow instruments inserted through smaller incisions than traditional surgery..."

KathyR said...

Mystery maladies really, really suck. I hope he gets some resolution soon.

BrightenedBoy said...

He's in my thoughts.

I hope that he recovers as soon as humanly possible. Please send along the well wishes of the blogging community and let him know that he has a lot of people rooting for him.

waves2ya said...

He's got company...

http://thegroinpaincenter.blogspot.com/

http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=559820&page=88

Could be a hip tear, but they would have already found that...

Best of luck to your bud.

Rev Dr Mom said...

How frustrating that must be for all of you. I hope he gets a real diagnosis and healing soon.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

so sorry to hear what you have been dealing with. My best wishes for BiB and the Ulti Krew.

Lilian said...

I'm really really sorry... I can just imagine how hard it is for a mother to see her grown son suffer and be unable to do anything to make it better!

Did you guys check into what anonymous said above? It might be a lead, no? Do let us know if there's any update or actual diagnosis...

Lilian said...

P.S. Oh, I see that the link above was to an article about a treatment to a hip tear, and they haven't been able to find the tear, right?

I'm so sorry... it's frustrating when medicine cannot find a cause and/or cure for our ailments, right? And having to fight the insurance company for treatment options must definitely add to the stress and the pain... sigh. My thoughts and prayer are with BiB right now.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the WP article also explains that the new treatments are a way to FIND the previously undiagnosed conditions:

"With the hip, however, doctors using arthroscopes discovered a host of conditions, including labrum tears and FAI, that had not been recognized. As a result, surgeons are trying to find remedies for problems that, Byrd said, had received "no treatment at all" in the past. "

Just don't let BiB raid the garage for parts to try this at home on his own ...

Lilian said...

Hmmm, it was good that the previous commented pointed out that the new procedure (arthoscopy, I guess) can help the diagnosis. Now the hard part is finding out whether the health insurance would cover such a thing, right? (they do mention high profile athletes in the essay -- those people get the topmost medical care, because they're so "valuable" -- Blah).